Scroll or swipe to go to the page.

Hit by a Truck? Here’s What Victims Need to Know

If you’re a driver or passenger in a car involved (or, especially, injured) in an accident with a much larger, heavier vehicle, it can seem Sisyphean just to get your life back on track. But you can do it, armed with this critical information.

Car turned on its side in grass after collision with truck
Jeffrey A. Block

Jeffrey A. Block

May 18, 2023 09:19 AM

A COLLISION WITH a truck can be devastating for those involved, potentially leaving them with life-altering injuries, emotional distress and financial hardship. Crashes involving large trucks and smaller vehicles are especially dangerous for passengers of the latter. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2020 a staggering 97% of vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger car and large truck were riding in the car.

It’s impossible to predict when an accident will happen, but being prepared and knowing what to do after a crash can make a significant difference. The path forward in the wake of a truck collision can be nerve-wracking and complicated, but this guide will help you understand and protect your rights as you navigate the aftermath.

Immediate Steps to Take

Every accident is different, so the specific steps you take after one will vary based on your situation.

1. Remain calm, check for injuries and move your vehicle to safety if possible. Safety is your top priority. Keep calm and assess your situation. If anyone appears to be seriously injured, call emergency medical services to the scene as soon as possible. Do not leave the scene even if you believe everyone involved is OK.

Depending on the situation, you might want to move your car away from traffic to a safer area such as the nearest shoulder or a median. Doing so will protect you from oncoming traffic, allow other motorists to pass safely and make it easier for first responders to reach you. Do this only if you’re certain there are no serious injuries, your car is operable and there’s no risk in moving it.

It’s also important to realize that many people don’t experience pain immediately after a crash involving a truck. Sometimes a victim’s adrenaline is elevated; an injury might also be only gradually developing. Carefully monitor your body. At Block O’Toole & Murphy, we have represented many seriously injured clients who didn’t experience pain at the time, only to have it surface at some point later.

2. Document the scene and exchange information with the other driver and any witnesses. Take photos and videos, making sure to document where the accident occurred, damage to your car, damage to surrounding property and any skid marks or debris on the road. Footage like this can be useful whether you need to provide evidence in court or share details with your insurance company. Photographs are often far more powerful and persuasive than testimony from one of the drivers or passengers when trying to persuade a jury. (If you’re represented, it’s critical to remember to share all this with your attorney.)

Be sure to collect the other driver’s information before they leave the scene. Ask for their name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, insurance carrier and policy number. Document vehicle details including make, model and license plate number; it can’t hurt to take a photo of the other driver’s license as well.

You’ll want to gather names and contact info from any witnesses. If you eventually file a case that goes to trial, witnesses can provide valuable testimony concerning the circumstances of the wreck. Independent witnesses can make the pivotal difference between winning and losing your case.

3. Call the police and report the accident. Even if you believe the crash was minor and didn’t cause any injuries, it’s in your best interest for the police to create a report—a legal document that will typically include the following:

  • where the incident happened
  • who was involved
  • property damage
  • vehicle information
  • specific details (what kind of damage resulted; whether a driver was intoxicated)
  • names and badge numbers of responding officers

Once the police file their report, be sure to obtain a copy for your records. Even if you don’t intend to pursue legal action, a police report is important when you submit an insurance claim.

4. Call your insurance company. Do so as soon as you can. Waiting too long can make it more difficult to submit a claim to be reimbursed for damages. Be aware of whether your state has laws regarding no-fault insurance, also called personal injury protection.

Many states mandate deadlines to file paperwork so your medical bills and lost wages will be covered. For instance, New York’s no-fault laws require that a “no-fault application” be submitted within 30 days of an accident. Failure to comply can result in real hardship for a driver, passenger or pedestrian who has been injured.

You are required to cooperate with your insurance company’s investigation. However, you are not required to speak with another party’s insurer. In fact, it’s better not to, should they attempt to contact you. Rest assured they are not trying to help you. You may wish to have an attorney handle these matters on your behalf.

5. Seek medical treatment if you’re injured. By nature of their size and weight, trucks are capable of doing tremendous damage. As noted above, it’s possible that signs of an injury won’t show for days or even weeks after. It can take time for your initial adrenaline rush to wear off and swelling to go down before you realize something isn’t right.

It’s important to get medical attention as soon as you can, both to begin treatment and to have your injuries documented should you ultimately decide to seek compensation. Keep careful track of any medical expenses and lost wages, too.

Legal Considerations After a Collision

The losses an accident victim might suffer from a truck collision can be debilitating. It might initially feel impossible to get your life back on track as you or a loved one recovers from a serious injury. In such circumstances, it may be in your best interest to speak with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options moving forward. It’s possible you have a legal right to compensation that will cover damages including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to guide you through the complex legal process and fight on your behalf. Keep in mind that you’ll need to file a lawsuit within your state’s statute of limitations. In New York, for example, most personal injury cases need to be filed within three years—but that can vary by case and state.

Pursuing a personal injury lawsuit can feel scary and intimidating. It’s crucial that an accident victim choose an attorney and a law firm they trust, with a track record that affirms their expertise. [END SLUG]

Jeffrey A. Block is the founding partner at Block O’Toole & Murphy, where he has been fighting for the underdog since 1989. As a formidable trial attorney and advocate for personal injury victims, he has obtained over one hundred results that exceed $1 million. In 2023, Best Lawyers named Mr. Block Lawyer of the Year for Personal Injury—Plaintiffs in New York City.

Click to Explore the full Injury & Malpractice Legal Guide button
Headline Image: Adobe Stock/jteivans

Related Articles

Road to Recovery

by Jeremy M. Wilson and Lynwood P. Evans

If you’ve been involved in a car wreck, shock and adrenaline might keep you from thinking clearly. Here’s a list of the important things you need to do in the immediate aftermath to ensure the quickest recovery, both physical and financial.

Woman on phone after car accident in black car


Injured in a Car Accident? 7 Steps You Need To Take Immediately

by Mark H. Perenich

Personal injury lawyer Mark Perenich offers advice on the seven most important steps to take immediately after you have been injured in a car accident.

Man and woman in car with airbags deployed and smoke coming from dash


5 Things To Do if You’re at Fault in a Car Accident

by Alex De Castroverde

Have you been in a car accident in Las Vegas, NV? Learn more about what to do if you were at fault. Contact a car accident attorney to discuss your case.

Man in blue jacket standing in front of smoking car

Steps To Take After a Columbus Car Accident

by Mark Casto

Learn some steps to take after a car accident in Columbus, GA. Contact Mark Casto Personal Injury Law Firm for legal assistance if you were injured in a crash.

Two front ends of cars shattering in pieces after collision


Should I Hire A Lawyer After A Houston Car Accident?

by Ryan Zehl

You should hire a lawyer after a Houston car accident for help proving liability, gathering evidence and pursuing insurance claims or lawsuits for compensation.

Yellow background with white car being viewed through magnifying glass


Five Tips To Avoid a Car Accident in Nashville

by Harlene Labrum

Learn five tips to avoid a crash in Nashville, TN. Call Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers for a consultation with a skilled Nashville car accident attorney.

Car driving on snowy road


The Benefits of Hiring an Attorney After a Car Accident

by James D. Payer

Hiring a car accident attorney is about maximizing the compensation you recover from the at-fault party. Learn more about the benefits of hiring a lawyer here.

Nighttime image of two crashed cars in street covered in broken glass


Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident in Galveston, TX?

by Alton Todd

Learn whether you should hire a lawyer after a car accident in Galveston, TX. Contact The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.

Yellow car crashing into the side of blue car


Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident in Brentwood, TN?

by Harlene Labrum

Learn whether you should hire a lawyer after a car accident lawyer in Brentwood, TN. Contact Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.

Road caution sign in front of two wrecked cars


What Will a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Actually Do for You?

by Adam Zayed

Personal injury lawyer Adam Zayed explains the important steps a Chicago car accident lawyer will take to ensure you receive the best legal representation.

Blurry image of fast moving traffic in big city


Knowing When to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer

by Muhammad Ramadan

Chicago personal injury lawyer Muhammad Ramadan offers advice on how to know when to hire a lawyer after you have been involved in a car accident.

White and grey cars crashed together with man standing between them


Five Considerations Choosing A Colorado Car Accident Lawyer

by Lisandra Matos

One lawyer explains five considerations you should take when choosing the right Colorado lawyer if you have been injured or are facing insurance claims after a car accident.

Red and white toy car colliding by magnifying glass on orange background


5 Benefits of Hiring an Attorney After a Car Accident in Texas

by Alton C. Todd

A personal injury lawyer can protect your rights and advocate for compensation. Read to learn about the benefits of hiring a lawyer after a Texas car accident.

White car crashed into dark purple car with heavy damage


5 Things To Do if You’re at Fault in a Car Accident in Oklahoma

by Chris Hammons

The moments following an accident can be confusing and frightening, even if no one is seriously injured. Here are five things to do when at fault after a car accident in Oklahoma.

Blue car and grey car crashed into each other with woman and man standing beside them talking

5 Things To Consider When Choosing a Car Accident Lawyer in Dallas, TX

by Jay Murray

Choosing the right car accident lawyer for your case in Dallas, Texas, is essential. Read this article to learn about 5 things to consider during the process.

Figure in suit checks off an animated list


Car Accident While Traveling in Texas—What You Need to Do

by George Salinas

A car accident can happen anytime, including while you travel. Learn what you should do if you’re involved in a car accident while traveling in Texas.

Blue print image of cars crashing together on black background

Trending Articles

Presenting The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2025

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is proud to present The Best Lawyers in Australia for 2025, marking the 17th consecutive year of Best Lawyers awards in Australia.

Australia flag over outline of country

Best Lawyers Expands 2024 Brazilian Awards

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is honored to announce the 14th edition of The Best Lawyers in Brazil™ and the first edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Brazil™.

Image of Brazil city and water from sky

The Best Lawyers in Mexico Celebrates a Milestone Year

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is excited to announce the 15th edition of The Best Lawyers in Mexico™ and the second edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Mexico™ for 2024.

Sky view of Mexico city scape

How Palworld Is Testing the Limits of Nintendo’s Legal Power

by Gregory Sirico

Many are calling the new game Palworld “Pokémon GO with guns,” noting the games striking similarities. Experts speculate how Nintendo could take legal action.

Animated figures with guns stand on top of creatures

How To Find A Pro Bono Lawyer

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers dives into the vital role pro bono lawyers play in ensuring access to justice for all and the transformative impact they have on communities.

Hands joined around a table with phone, paper, pen and glasses

Announcing The Best Lawyers in New Zealand™ 2025 Awards

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is announcing the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in New Zealand for 2025, including individual Best Lawyers and "Lawyer of the Year" awards.

New Zealand flag over image of country outline

Presenting the 2024 Best Lawyers Family Law Legal Guide

by Best Lawyers

The 2024 Best Lawyers Family Law Legal Guide is now live and includes recognitions for all Best Lawyers family law awards. Read below and explore the legal guide.

Man entering home and hugging two children in doorway

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Japan™ 2025

by Best Lawyers

For a milestone 15th edition, Best Lawyers is proud to announce The Best Lawyers in Japan.

Japan flag over outline of country

The Best Lawyers in Singapore™ 2025 Edition

by Best Lawyers

For 2025, Best Lawyers presents the most esteemed awards for lawyers and law firms in Singapore.

Singapore flag over outline of country

Canada Makes First Foray Into AI Regulation

by Sara Collin

As Artificial Intelligence continues to rise in use and popularity, many countries are working to ensure proper regulation. Canada has just made its first foray into AI regulation.

People standing in front of large, green pixelated image of buildings

Commingling Assets

by Tamires M. Oliveira

Commingling alone does not automatically turn an otherwise immune asset into an asset subject to marital distribution as explained by one family law lawyer.

Toy house and figure of married couple standing on stacks of coins

How Much Is a Lawyer Consultation Fee?

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers breaks down the key differences between consultation and retainer fees when hiring an attorney, a crucial first step in the legal process.

Client consulting with lawyer wearing a suit

The Hague Convention and International Custody Battles

by Alexandra Goldstein

One family law lawyer explains how Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner’s celebrity divorce brings The Hague Convention treaty and international child custody battles into the spotlight.

Man and woman celebrities wearing black and standing for photo

Presenting the 2024 Best Lawyers Employment and Workers’ Compensation Legal Guide

by Best Lawyers

The 2024 Best Lawyers Employment and Workers' Compensation Legal Guide provides exclusive access to all Best Lawyers awards in related practice areas. Read below and explore the legal guide.

Illustration of several men and women in shades of orange and teal

New York Passes 9/11 Notice Act

by Gregory Sirico

Best Lawyers highlights the newly enacted 9/11 Notice Act, which seeks to find individuals eligible for medical care coverage under different federal programs.

Firefighter stands with their back turned with flames in the background

Filing For Divorce in North Carolina

by Melody J. King

Family law lawyer Melody King answers some of the most important questions individuals may have about filing for divorce in North Carolina.

Illustration of man and woman on paper that has been torn apart